BAGHDAD — A double truck bombing Monday in Mosul and blasts in Baghdad brought the Iraqi death toll to more than 100 in three days, the worst spasm of violence the country has suffered since U.S. forces left the cities.
The bloodshed threatened to chip away at public confidence in the U.S.-backed government as it seeks to project a sense of normalcy ahead of next year's national elections, including an announcement last week that all concrete blast walls will be gone from Baghdad's main roads by mid September.
The Mosul bombing, like another Friday on the fringes of the ethnically tense city, targeted ethnic minorities, indicating that insurgents are seeking out relatively undefended targets to maximize casualties as the strapped Iraqi army focuses its efforts on more central areas.
The attacks in Mosul, which the U.S. military has called the last stronghold of al-Qaida, killed 28 people Monday and 44 on Friday. It's the first time since the U.S. turned urban security over to the Iraqis on June 30 that insurgents have managed to stage two massive attacks in short order.
An additional 22 Iraqis, mostly day laborers, died in two bombings in Baghdad on Monday. Seven Shiite pilgrims were killed Friday by bombings in Baghdad.
The deaths raise to at least 158 the number killed in the first 10 days of August — more than half the 309 killed in all of July.
The U.S. military has stressed that violence overall is low compared with past year. American commanders also have warned al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents would try to reignite sectarian violence but said Shiites are showing restraint and not retaliating as they did more than two years ago when the country came to the brink of civil war.